A 71-YEAR-OLD woman was left stranded at a hospital at 5am in nothing more than her dressing gown and slippers.
Christine Prince was rushed to Stockton’s University Hospital of North Tees from her Hartlepool home with chest pains in a midnight 999 dash, before she was released hours later after being checked over.
But Christine was left without a penny 12 miles from home to fend for herself wearing only her night wear.
She said: “I was turfed out in my night clothes not knowing how I was going to get home. I didn’t have any money or house keys.
Christine’s husband, Morris, 81, suffers from chronic health problems himself and had to stay at the family home to care for their 48-year-old son Andrew, who has learning difficulties.
Mrs Prince said when she had dialled 999, she was in no state to think about how she would get home – concerned only to be seen by medics.
But when she was given the all-clear to go back to her Seaton Carew home, she was stunned to be told she would have to fend for herself.
She called for a taxi, and waited for 20 minutes outside the Stockton hospital’s accident and emergency department before she was eventually picked up and taken home.
Christine had to tell the driver that she had no money, and he agreed to take her on the condition she paid the £16 fare when they got back to her house.
Speaking about her ordeal, she said: “The doctor said it wasn’t a heart attack, but a bad reaction to some injections I had had earlier that day.
“She asked how I was getting home, and I said ‘I suppose I will have to take a taxi.’
“I was stood outside the hospital at 5.10am in my dressing gown and slippers waiting for 20 minutes.”
Paramedics were called to Christine’s home just after midnight on Thursday, March 24.
She had received six injections at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton earlier that day as part of her treatment for a spinal injury three years ago.
The medics at the scene decided she would need to be taken to North Tees for further assessment.
After the Hartlepool Mail contacted bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, they agreed to reimburse Christine with the £16 taxi fare - but insisted it was normal procedure for people released from A&E to make their own arrangements to get home, despite their age and appearance.
Christine added: “I would have thought they would have taken me back in an ambulance or kept me in until later in the morning and they could probably have arranged a patient ambulance which I would have been quite happy to do.
“I didn’t really feel well enough stood outside in my slippers and dressing gown.
“It was not a very nice experience at all.”
A spokesman for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’re pleased Mrs Prince has made a good recovery after her attendance at the University Hospital of North Tees accident and emergency department.
“People attend accident and emergency at all hours of the days and night. They can go home once all the necessary tests and observations have been carried out and they are well enough to leave.
“It’s usual to have a discussion about how they are planning to get home, especially during the night.”